China’s Ban on Animal Circuses – Good and Bad News

The good news is that after years of pressure from animal groups, the Chinese government issued a total ban on animal circuses and implemented regulations to stop abuse at the 300 state-owned zoos. The ban went into effect on January 18.


The bad news is the new requirements may put animal performers at risk of being abandoned or destroyed.


According to The Telegraph, live animal shows and circuses are enormously popular in China. Annually 150 million visitors come to watch the performances, which are held primarily at zoos.


Animal rights organizations have long criticized the shows for their cruelty.


Animal circuses commonly include lions that are forced to jump through rings of fire or stand on the back of a horse to perform an acrobatic trick.


Bears are often made to walk across tightropes as they are pulled by cables inserted into their nostrils. And monkeys tear each other apart in live-fighting shows.


Animals Asia Foundation has been cataloging and documenting the exploitation.  Their findings showed that animals are routinely whipped, beaten and prodded with electric shocks until they perform a specific trick.


A circus video released by the organization said, “Like with any form of torture, they either succumb or die.”


The Telegraph wrote, “Chinese circuses have defended their shows, saying that the animals are well fed and that teaching them tricks can help them become stars.”


A spokesperson for China’s State Forestry Bureau said a three-month investigation found animals suffering from abuse in more than 50 zoos.


Protection For Other Zoo Animals

The ban also put restrictions on how animals in zoo exhibits are treated.  Workers will no longer be able to pull the teeth of tiger cubs so tourists can hold them. And zoos will have to stop serving food made from rare animals.


The ban will also put a halt to attractions that allow visitors to buy live chickens, goats and cows and toss them into cages where lions and tigers rip them apart.


The Bad News

Animals Asia fears the ban will force some zoos to close down and leave animal performers at risk.


David Neale, the Animal Welfare Director for the group said, “In some cases, I am not sure where the animals will go.  In some cases I would recommend euthanasia, since there are animals in a very bad way after a few years of being in these performances.”


And another complication to the ban is that the 400 non-state owned zoos were not notified about the new restrictions, leaving welfare groups to wonder if the policy will apply to them.



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Cindy W.
Cindy W.5 years ago

They need to be rescued. The Chinese are so cruel to all these animals. Step up Asian rescue groupos and also IFW and get going to help these poor voicesless animals. 'they are not toys or puppets. They are live, flesh and blood. The Chinese people need to ban going to any of these shows. Ramop it up and help these poor animals. The poor bear up above looks so depressed. I know they beat their elephants and lions and tigers. There needs to be an Asian Humane Society. Do it.

Karilyn K.
Karilyn K5 years ago

Animal rights groups need to step in and help in this transition

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle5 years ago

Seeing that black bear sitting there, all dejected, is something I will never subject myself or any child to. It is heart-breaking.

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle5 years ago

Tucker Thomas says it ELOQUENTLY (ha, ha) and truthfully. There are solutions to the "bad news". As we move towards enlightenment, humans must realize that animals are not here for US -- not our entertainment, diet, nor experimentation. They are sentient beings sharing the earth with us. The bible says we are "over" them, but this is poppycock. We have no more rights than they.

I won't see it in my lifetime, but "someday" a moral view of all life on earth will prevail. Our "souls"? don't make us more special.

Tucker Thomas
Tucker T5 years ago

ABANDING THEM, OR KILLING THEM COME ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Angie c.
Angie cr5 years ago

again.......why do we do this to animals???? why their suffering is our fun and pleasure?
i hope this means a real change in China and i hope many countires follow....

Claire A.
Claire Allen5 years ago

I'm glad that a ban has now comeinto effect. There needed to be a secondary element to it such as any animals currently owned by these circuses need to be rehomed properly. At the moment it's a double edged sword which isn't acceptable and what happens to the animals in private zoos or private attractions does this law apply to them or not? This needs to be made clear and it needs to apply to them and they need to abide by it. All the loose ends need to be tied up.

Brian Drake
Brian Drake5 years ago

Well, it's bad if they have to kill the animals!

Mervi R.
Mervi R5 years ago

This is a step in the right direction for China; hopefully the abused animals will find good homes, although that will most certainly be difficult.

katie sirk
katie sirk5 years ago

This is NOT Bad news. This is simply the last round of tortured and abused animals to face this injustice and cruelty. My hopes, of course, is that as many of these exploited animals are able to live out their days in a trusted sanctuary somewhere in their natural climate. But either way - the end is good.